Last updated on May 1st, 2024 at 03:45 pm

Quick Answer

Dual agency is illegal in Colorado, even if the real estate broker discloses the relationship to the buyer and the seller in writing; it is against the law.

Commission rule 6.7 states a broker and it's agent may not enter into this relationship. But there are some situations where one broker and team can do so:

  • A transaction-broker for both consumers to the transaction;
  • A transaction-broker for one consumer in the transaction and treating the other consumer as a customer; or    
  • A single agent for one consumer and treating the other consumer as a customer.

Dual Agency and Its Legal Status in Colorado

When it comes to a real estate deal, one word that brings a lot of interest and issues of contention is dual agency.

What does that mean exactly, and most importantly, is dual agency legal in Colorado?

Dual agency occurs whereby a real estate agent represents the buyer as well as the seller in the same transaction.

That means the agent is a mediator to both parties and aims to give them guidance to get a successful deal.

You may at once question the ethics in such a situation and wonder what kinds of tricks can be played.

It is very essential to remember that dual agency can only occur with the consent and agreement of all the parties involved.

Agency Relationship

In any real estate transaction, there normally exists an agency relationship between the client, either the buyer or seller, and the real estate agent.

This relationship maintains certain responsibilities, which include fiduciary duties owed by the agent to their client.

Various Agency Models

In Colorado, as in almost any other state, various agency models have been provided.

The traditional model allows the listing agent to represent the seller exclusively, working tirelessly to get the highest price for the property.

The buyer has their own agent, called the buyer’s agent.

Legality of 

Dual agency is legal in other states like, but it requires written consent from both parties involved. The agent must remain impartial and not favor one party over the other.

Nonetheless, dual agency can create potential conflicts of interest for the agent and lead to legal issues, making on the top of the list for buyers and sellers to understand its implications before agreeing to it.

In states where it is legal, usually real estate agents must disclose to both the buyer and seller that they are acting as a dual agent in the transaction.

  • The dual agent must remain impartial and cannot give either party preferential treatment.
  • The dual agent must also disclose any potential conflicts of interest that may arise during the transaction.

Advantages of dual agency

Understanding the pros of dual agency can provide clarity when making informed decisions. 

Streamlined Communication and Efficiency

Things can move much faster: Having a single agent represent both the buyer and seller can facilitate streamlined communication throughout the transaction.

With a dual agent handling both sides of the deal, there is a direct line of communication, minimizing delays and potential miscommunications.

This can lead to greater efficiency in negotiations, paperwork processing, and overall coordination, resulting in a smoother transaction experience.

Enhanced Market Knowledge and Insights

Dual agents, especially those with extensive experience and expertise, possess a deep understanding of the local real estate market.

By representing both buyers and sellers, they gain valuable insights into market trends, comparable sales, and pricing strategies.

This knowledge can be advantageous when it comes to pricing the property competitively or negotiating the best deal on behalf of their clients, as they have access to comprehensive information from both perspectives.

Negotiation and Mediation Skills

Dual agents are trained to be skilled negotiators and problem solvers.

By representing both parties in a transaction, they develop a unique ability to identify common ground, bridge gaps, and facilitate compromises.

This can be particularly beneficial when faced with challenges or disagreements during the negotiation process.

A dual agent who can effectively balance the interests of both the buyer and seller may be better equipped to reach mutually beneficial agreements.

In a dual agency relationship, the agent is bound by strict confidentiality obligations towards both parties involved.

This means that sensitive information shared by the buyer or seller will remain confidential and not be disclosed to the opposing party.

This level of trust and confidentiality can create a safe environment for open communication and allow clients to express their concerns without fear of the information being used against them.

Disadvantages of

One of the key concerns surrounding dual agency in real estate transactions is the potential for conflicts of interest.

When a real estate agent represents both the buyer and seller in a transaction, they have a fiduciary duty to both parties.

However, this presents a situation where their loyalty and obligation can become divided.

Conflicts of interest can arise in several areas within a dual agency relationship, including:

Negotiating Price: In a dual agency scenario, the agent may find themselves in a difficult position when negotiating the price of the property.

On one hand, they are supposed to act in the best interest of the buyer by aiming for the lowest price possible.

On the other hand, they are obligated to advocate for the seller and strive for the highest price.

This conflicting objective can create challenges and raise concerns about the fairness of the negotiation process.

Confidentiality: A major component of any agency relationship is confidentiality.

However, in a dual agency arrangement, maintaining complete confidentiality can be challenging.

The agent may become privy to confidential information from one party that could potentially influence their representation of the other party.

This can raise questions about the protection of sensitive information and how it may be used during negotiations.

Diligent Representation: Dual agency can also raise concerns about the level of representation each party receives.

When an agent is juggling the interests of both the buyer and seller, there is a possibility that one side may receive less attention or advocacy.

This can lead to questions about whether each party is truly receiving the dedicated representation they deserve.

Disclosure of Material Facts: Real estate agents have a duty to disclose any material facts that could impact the buyer’s decision-making process.

However, in a dual agency situation, the agent may be hesitant to reveal certain information if it could potentially harm their own client’s position.

This can create an ethical dilemma and compromise the transparency that is crucial in real estate transactions.

Limited Negotiation Power: In some instances, dual agency can limit the buyer’s ability to negotiate effectively.

Since the agent is bound to act in the best interest of both parties, they may need to balance competing demands and limitations set by the seller.

This could potentially restrict the buyer’s ability to obtain the most favorable terms and conditions.

How Can People and Sellers Protect Themselves 

When participating in a real estate transaction that involves dual agency, it’s often necessary  to take steps to protect yourself and ensure your best interests are represented.

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, there are strategies you can employ to navigate this potentially complex situation. 

Seek Independent Representation:

To safeguard your interests, it’s recommended to engage an independent agent who solely represents you.

This way, your agent can work to negotiate the best deal and protect your rights throughout the process.

Ask for Full Disclosure:

Request complete transparency from your agent regarding any potential conflicts of interest and the scope of their representation.

A trustworthy agent should disclose their role as a dual agent and provide the necessary information for you to make well-informed decisions.

Understand Fiduciary Duties:

Familiarize yourself with the fiduciary duties a dual agent owes to both parties.

While their loyalty may be divided, they should still adhere to certain obligations, such as providing accurate information, maintaining confidentiality, and acting in good faith.

Regardless of the agency relationship, it’s necessary to conduct thorough research and gather as much information as possible about the property, its market value, and other relevant factors.This will empower you to make informed decisions and assess whether the transaction is in your best interest.

Start by asking your agent for a CMA.

Is Dual Agency Legal in Other States Besides Colorado

The legality of dual agency varies by state. It is legal in Texas. Some require consent from both parties, while others forbid it.

Research each state’s laws and regulations before entering a dual agency relationship.

Even if this is legal, it it a good practice

As a brokerage relationship where a single real estate agent represents both sides of the transaction, it can create conflicts of interest and jeopardize fiduciary duties owed to either party.

Consider other options such as designated agency or using separate agents for buying and selling to ensure advocacy for both sides of the transaction.

Additionally, working with an experienced real estate attorney can help navigate any potential conflicts that may arise.

Increasing Scrutiny and Regulation

With a growing concern for consumer protection, it is likely that dual agency will face increased scrutiny and regulation.

Many advocates argue that the inherent conflict of interest in dual agency can put clients at a disadvantage.

As a result, regulatory bodies and industry organizations may enforce stricter guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness in real estate transactions.

Limitations and Restrictions

Some states, such as Rhode Island and West Virginia, have already banned dual agency altogether, while others have implemented significant limitations and restrictions.

For instance, in Maryland, consent must be obtained from all parties involved, and the agent must follow specific statutory requirements.

As the consequences of dual agency become more apparent, it is possible that other states will follow suit, further limiting the practice.

Rise of Designated Agency

In response to the concerns surrounding dual agency, designated agency has emerged as an alternative approach.

Under designated agency, different agents within the same brokerage represent the buyer and the seller, allowing each party to have their agent advocating for their best interests.

This practice aims to mitigate the conflict of interest inherent in dual agency while maintaining the convenience of working with a single brokerage.

Emphasis on Fiduciary Duty

As the importance of fiduciary duty becomes paramount in real estate transactions, the focus will shift towards ensuring that agents prioritize their clients’ best interests.

This means providing unbiased advice, acting honestly, and disclosing all relevant information.

Real estate professionals will increasingly be expected to demonstrate a high level of expertise, putting clients’ needs above their own financial gain.

Technological Advancements

Technological advancements are revolutionizing the real estate industry, and this will likely impact dual agency as well.

With the availability of online platforms and tools, buyers and sellers can access a wealth of information and resources.

As a result, clients may become more empowered and inclined to seek out specialized agents who can offer in-depth knowledge and guidance specific to their needs.

Final Take-aways

Dual agency is an illegal practice in Colorado, and thus relives buyers and sellers of any confusion .

While it may seem like a good idea to have the same agent represent both the buyer and seller, it can often lead to conflicts of interest and a lack of representation for both parties. 

It’s important for buyers and sellers to protect themselves by asking questions, understanding their rights, and seeking legal advice if necessary.

Additionally, finding a good realtor who puts your interests first is key to avoiding any potential issues.